Ben Spies is World Superbike Champion !
Yesterday in Portimao was the final of the SBK World Cup: Haga and Spies had to engage in a merciless duel, but the Japanese stumbled in the first round and the American was able to ensure in second! In Supersport, Cal Crutchlow takes the title. Report.
First Superbike race
Posted an eleventh time in pole position (read), Ben Spies takes the lead in the race and leads Max Biaggi, Shane Byrne, Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam, Fonsi Nieto and Noriyuki Haga. From the first loop, Spies sets a rhythm that not even Biaggi and his RSV4 manage to follow..
At the start of the second lap, Rea took advantage of the long straight to pass Byrne while Haga fought against Nieto. It is only at the end of this 2nd round that the Japanese get rid of the Spanish. In 2nd position, Biaggi did not give up and in turn moved away from the peloton. The latter is now led by Rea. Just behind are Byrne and Haslam, on whom Haga joins in the 3rd lap.
The next round saw Spies maintain their lead over Biaggi. Rea is unable to get back on the leading duo but does not stop the pilots behind him: Byrne, Haslam and Haga continue their routine, and are soon joined by Fabrizio, particularly swift. !
The Italian – who has just signed the fastest lap of the round in 1 ‘43.529 and thus beats Bayliss’ record last year – could he tow Haga to the forefront? ?
Up front, Biaggi managed to close the gap on Spies and soon found himself in the wheel of the Texan. At the 5th crossing over the finish line, "Big" Ben is also heated under braking, proof that the American does not want to fight directly with Biaggi. Haslam him, goes out in the first corner and gives his 5th place to Nitro Nori.
But in the 7th lap, Haga fell: in a left sloping, the Japanese lost the front and could not start again! Spies is warned the next round of the incident: with the 25 points of the victory, Elbowz is able to afford a 15 point lead over Nitro Nori…
Fortunately, the fall of the Japanese does not take away the suspense on the track: Ben still leads in front of Biaggi but Rea and Byrne seem to be preparing a response! Fabrizio was surprised by the fall of his teammate and momentarily lost contact … but the little Roman has resources !
While he has just grabbed 12th place against Baiocco, Tamada, Parkes and Matthieu Lagrive, Sylvain Guintoli must give up even before having completed the 9th lap and pushes his Gex along the track. David Checa, on his R1 n ° 94, fights against Resch at the tail.
Two laps later Leon Haslam swelled the ranks of retirements: by trying to get back on the top five, the young Englishman overdid it and fell..
Halfway through the race, Johnny Rea finds himself less than a second from Biaggi … However, these two men are also fighting in the championship for 4th place: that is to say if the order of the winning trifecta is far from be decided !
Troy Corser, who entered the pits in the 10th loop, resumed the track four laps later. Will the information collected during the next rounds allow him to appear better in the second round? ?
In the 15th lap, Jonathan Rea annoyed Max Biaggi even more. So much so that the Italian lost track of Spies installed at the head of the race from the very first meters. The next lap, Max gives in to the pressure and widens in a turn: it doesn’t take more for Johnny to take 2nd place. !
There are 6 laps left and in Ben "Elbowz" Spies his lead increased to over a second and a half. Of his three pursuers, Byrne is the one who achieves the most discreet race but the British could well, finally, get on the podium !
Four laps from the end, Biaggi plants a superb braking at the end of the straight line and recovers his 2nd place. Shane Byrne is not so quick and incisive: "Shakey" he gives them a few meters, however. Spies him, rolls two seconds in front of Biaggi.
Two laps before the flag was lowered, the action was in full swing: Rea passed Biaggi again and Byrne fell back into the Italian’s wheel. Spies, in the lead, has just passed in a cloud of smoke: smoke? No, the fumes from the exploded engine of Resch, while David Checa was in his aspi !
The last lap is just a simple formality for Spies: in his inimitable style, all elbows out, the Texan devours the last 4592 meters that separate him from the finish. He is followed by Rea, Biaggi and Byrne.
The American therefore takes a serious option for the title: in the second round, the last of the season, he will start again from pole, with 15 points ahead of his only opponent in the championship, Haga. A 6th place will be enough for the Texan to win, in his first season, the title of World Champion. But knowing Ben he’ll run for the win !
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